PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Washington state deputies may never have found a missing hiker if it wasn’t for his loyal dog.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department set out to find a 64-year-old man at daybreak Thursday after his wife called and reported her husband, his car and their dog, Daisy, were missing from their home in the Eatonville area, authorities said.
The man had gone hiking Wednesday, but did not return by nightfall, The News Tribune in Tacoma reported.
“The missing man reportedly often went hiking with his dog, but did not leave a note where he was going and had failed to return home after dark,” the sheriff’s department said. “The man’s wife reported finding recent internet searches by her husband for geocaching in the Evans Creek area.”
Authorities searched the area, but had no luck.
By 4:45 p.m., they had found his vehicle, which had a list of geocache locations that the team mapped out and set out to look through.
It wasn’t until nearly 6 p.m., when a deputy searching through one of the locations was startled by the sound of barking.
“The deputy continued hiking toward the sound of the dog’s barking, and spotted a dog matching the description of Daisy up a very steep embankment above the Marshall River,” the sheriff’s department said.
The deputy climbed another 30 minutes through thick woods until he reached the dog, who was by her owner.
The man was deceased from what appeared to be injuries from a fall, the sheriff’s department said. It did not identify him.
“This was a very sad end to a tough search, but we are incredibly proud of our deputies and the volunteers efforts to find the missing man and return him to his family,” the department said. “Without the barking of his loyal companion Daisy, we never would have located the missing man.”